Meet Adriana Florez; founder of Yummi Foods, who has a keen passion for food and helping people to live a healthier and happier life. Yummi Foods targets those who are following specific diets, like Keto, Paleo and Low Carb (amongst many more), and aims to fuel people with wholesome, natural foods that are easy to eat on the go.
Adriana started the company in early 2017, and since then has managed to grow her brand and scale her product range significantly, with her products now being sold online and through 6 retailers in the Tampa Bay area. She also turns over a revenue of $10,000 a month just by doing this herself!
We want to learn more, so we grab Adriana to talk about her plans for the future and where she sees the company going long-term..
Who are you and what brand did you start?
Hi! My name is Adriana Florez, founder of Yummi Foods. I am an entrepreneur with hopes and dreams to make a difference. Through my passion for food and helping people to live a healthier and happier life, I'm aiming to help make a difference in the world.
I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and have applied focus to studies which have developed my skill set in business.
My knowledge and passion brought me to creating my brand, Yummi Foods. Our Passion is to spread happiness and health by creating trust-worthy food products that contribute to improving the quality of life of our customers.
We create and manufacture healthy snack options that are easy to eat on the go, like keto and paleo friendly muffins, cookies and gluten free empanadas.
We see our target market as people following diets like: Keto, Paleo, Low Carb, Low Sugar, Gluten Free, Grain Free as well as people with those with diabetes and neurological syndromes that will benefit from a Ketogenic lifestyle and diet.
Since launching in early 2017, the brand has grown in size and scale with our products now being sold online and via retailers in the Tampa Bay Area.
How did you come up with the idea, brand name and logo for Yummi Foods?
Yummi Foods was born due to a mix of passion for food, health and love for my family and friends!
Being born and raised in a Latino Family, was very interesting, especially in regards of flavors, but eventually the excess of carbs and not-so-healthy fats in our traditional food, led my mom to a really dark path of diabetes & high blood pressure, that ended up with her, needing a kidney transplant. In the journey to help her come back to health, I tried to make her understand how food can heal your body, but her very “Latin” taste buds were clearly not happy with my blend of veggie recipes.
Reality hit me and I realized, that I need it to be creative and connect with my Latino heritage and come up with not only healthy but tasty food! I started playing with my grandma's recipes replacing traditional ingredients for gluten free, low carbs, rich protein, good fats, natural sweeteners that don't spike glucose, but making sure they will still as "yummi" as my grandma's food.
In the meantime my entrepreneur soul was calling my name, and although I have a lot experience in my country, I realized that I needed it to learn how to make business here in the United States, that is why I chose USF to go back to school and get the training and knowledge I needed. Although turned to be even better than I thought! Not only for the knowledge but specially for the support I found at the Entrepreneur Center and the Student Innovation incubator, where Yummi Foods Co. Llc. was born!
I decided that I wanted to make people smile with my delicious and healthy recipes, bringing a piece of my fun Latin food heritage but with a twist of healthy ingredients that will bring not only smiles but wellness to my customers. That is how Yummi Foods was born!
When looking at gaps in the market, I found that there were not enough trustworthy food products that tasted good and helped people who wanted to make a transition from and unhealthy life style to a healthy one.
When thinking about the name for my brand, I wanted to create a name that was easily identifiable and easy to remember.
For the logo, I wanted something which would put a smile on peoples faces. At the time, I reached out to a great designer friend of mine, and asked that she help us bring this logo to life. As she knew me well, she was able to “translate” my idea of fun delicious food into a fun logo which I hope puts a smile on our customers faces.
Take us through the early stages of Yummi Food's brand journey
Ok! Be ready! Our business is still in creation! We started with the gluten free empanadas, and eventually added the keto and paleo friendly baked goods. The prototypes were created by myself at my home, and were tested by friends, family and USF students/friends.
When their smiling faces gave me their blessing, I moved my operation to a commercial kitchen to be able to fulfill all the requirements in order to sell online and to retail stores.
Family and friends are my biggest supporters and biggest fans! I found a great support network at USF and even though I graduated May 2018, they are still rooting for me and supporting me! I will be forever grateful to USF!!!
We did have some early hurdles, although I like to call them learning experiences! Licensing was challenging because we wanted to do the right thing, but we made it through!!
During the startup phase it was tough because I started with my savings, and as of now, we have had only organic growth.
We have since been able to promote the business via social media by working with influencers, especially in the Keto niche. Also participating on health awareness events like: JDRF Walks, Angelman Syndrome Foundation, Tampa Bay Academy of Hope, and local networking events! We have also been featured in the local news.
We're now looking forward to opening new retailers in the Tampa, Sarasota and Manatee areas, which will help increase followers on Instagram, and increase our exposure generally.
Since launch, what has worked best to attract and retain customers?
Some of our ongoing strategies include quality of products and service, as well as willing to hear customer's needs and do my best to fulfill them.
I also think being honesty and transparency cannot be underestimated. What I mean by that is that I'm honest in all my communications, I feel customer can connect with my brand easily because they can feel I am honest and I truly care about making delicious and nutritious food! I also listen carefully and respond with kindness.
How is the business doing today and what does the future look like?
We're doing well with our online sales and there are 6 retailers that carry our products, with the intention of expanding distribution.
Long term we're looking to expand online distribution through Amazon, and health related supermarket chains.
What’s been the biggest learning experience since starting your own brand?
Pivoting! Is important to understand that you can start with an idea, but the market will show you other options and you have to be willing to adapt!Pivot. It is important to understand that you can start with an idea, but that the market may show you other options, so be willing to adaptClick To Tweet
What have been the most influential books, podcasts or other educational resources?
USF Connect offers great seminars and workshops through the year!
Toastmasters is great to learn and practice public speaking!
And Shark Tank TV show a fun way to learn about entrepreneurship!
Who have been the most influential people for you during this business journey?
My mentors at USF: Shri Goyal, Donna Herber & Vickie Chachere.
Any advice you’d like to share for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find what you are passionate about, find how you can solve a problem for others related to your passion and keep focusing on your dream! No matter how challenging some days are, It will all be worth it!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now or open to new investors?
Not hiring at the moment. Hopefully soon!
Interested on finding the right investor yes!
Where can we go to learn more about your current offers/promotions/programs?